Engaging departments

I have been doing some thinking lately about how to present the academic experience at my school in unique and interesting ways. How do you highlight the student academic experience as better or more “academic” than the next school and the next school? Every school has academics as a header on their main navigation, and every school touts faculty and student research.

One way to find the differences is to actually show the unique experiences your students are having in the classroom. How do you find these, talk about them, communicate them, and show them off? Ask faculty members and departments.

This might be a scary thought – I can understand why but if you attempt to create partnerships and engage your faculty and academic departments you might find that they are interested in “playing” as I like to call it. Maybe they will do a blog, be interested in helping you with a story, or try to use technology in a different way in the classroom.

Either way engaging departments and faculty can be extremely helpful and fruitful for your web efforts.


2 Responses to Engaging departments

  1. Erik says:

    Every Thursday we have a lunch meeting open to all faculty. The series is focused on technology in the classroom. Usually its the same tech-oriented faculty every time, but there’s always one or two new people. Last Thursday I gave a presentation on blogs, podcasting and Facebook, and their use in and out of the classroom.

    I’m trying to encourage faculty to be more proactive in promoting their programs by blogging about what the department is doing, and to highlight student work. I’ve found most often that they are reluctant to add to their workload, and many feel this sort of thing should be handled by the marketing office, but I believe everyone has a role to play in promoting the university. Videos and blogs by faculty showing, not just telling, what students are doing is much more credible than most marketing fluff that is put out.

    Of course, this shift has been slow to catch on, although there are some pioneers willing to experiment. We just need to keep encouraging, and hopefully the uses and benefits will prove useful for faculty to take on the work.

    If all else fails, we have them give us leads on stories that we produce as soundslides. While these still come from the marketing dept, they use student and faculty voices to tell the story. Example: http://www.callutheran.edu/admission/undergraduate/cal_lu/2008_fall/campus_life/going_green/

  2. predfern says:

    This was a cool example – thanks for sharing. I have actually been to Cal Lutheran twice – when I coached hoops we played in your holiday tournament.

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